Remembering Remember WENN

Do you Remember WENN? Oh, I so Remember WENN. In the pre-TCM days when American Movie Classics was still American Movie Classics, Remember WENN was the refreshingly original bit of programming that consistently hit the “Ahhh, that’s nice” spot.

Remember WENN

The show was a complete anomaly from day one. Premiering in 1996, the same year that American TV sets were faithfully tuned in to ER, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and Law & Order (the latter of which people still do), a show like Remember WENN was an oddity. Writer Rupert Holmes had crafted a period dramedy set at a Pittsburgh radio station during WWII with no modern considerations: No laugh track. No big names. No established audience.

The show‘s executive producer, David Metzler, had this to say in a 1997 interview: “When we first sold AMC on the idea, we promised them something that would be completely consistent with their programming, that would have the feel and look of a 40s movie. The aim was to create a show where viewers couldn’t immediately tell, either through the writing or visual style, whether this was new programming or a classic films.”

The show was a big gamble for AMC, but the station’s faithful viewers–and we were reverently faithful during that period–tuned in loyally each week. In those days, the Internet was a relatively new and somewhat exclusive phenomena, hardly the global village it is today, and therefore AMC did not benefit from the close-knit community that its modern day counterpart, Turner Classic Movies, enjoys today. We were there, we simply had no means of connectivity. Perhaps if Remember WENN had been borne under more liberal architecture, it’s lifespan would have lasted.

“Originally,” said Metzler, “we were going to end the show before Peal Harbor. Then we were going to end with Pearl Harbor. … Frankly I could see us doing this show during the early days of television.”

It was not to be. The show was canceled at the end of it’s fourth season– not coincidentally in 1998, the same year that AMC came under new management… and things were never quite the same again.

The cast of Remember WENN

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7 thoughts on “Remembering Remember WENN

  1. In the words of Scott Sherwood, “Well, will you look at the time?”

    I definitely remember Remember WENN, and considering that The Hollywood Reporter (just today) claimed that the show “wasn’t memorable at all after its four-season run,” I hope your readers will comment at http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/emmys-how-amc-became-hbos-203084 and let reporter Tim Apello know he’s way off base. I’ll never give up hope that Remember WENN will someday be available on DVD or via streaming video. Thanks for your post!

    1. when i watch remember wenn it like being with family and friends that the those shows made to feel i guess the hollywood reporter don’t know anything about family or friends i feel sorry for them

  2. I remember seeing commercials for Remember WENN on TV back in the day, but I don’t think I ever actually saw it. I really wish it were available on DVD because I’d love to check it out.

    I guess one thing AMC has always had good luck with is vintage styled original programming. First with Remember WENN, then about a decade later with Mad Men.

  3. I Remember WENN. It went so well with AMC’s then-format. Seems TCM was just picking up steam as AMC came crashing down. I’m wondering what happened to those who appeared in the series – I don’t recall the names of those in the ensemble cast. Will have to check. Thanks for the memories, Kitty.

  4. I truly miss Remember WENN. With the start of the theme song I could sit down and relax, forget the stresses of Silicon Valley and for 30 minutes visit a place located somewhere between 1939 to 1940. No internet, HDTV or cell phones, just a cast of charters that despite their own unique personalities were all very likable people. IMO AMC made a very bad decision to replace Remember WENN for that short lived program named The Lot. I’m sure the show will never be revived, but it would be wonderful if AMC would release the series on DVD.

  5. Remember WENN will always be one of my favorite shows. To this day, I still can’t watch AMC. Fifteen years later and the way they cancelled the show and treated everyone involved with the show still upsets me. They might get back in my good graces if they’d release WENN to DVD, but they don’t seem all that interested, so I will continue to ignore their existence.

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